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Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

19. Ombudsmen  

Mark Elliott and Jason Varuhas

This chapter examines the role of the ombudsmen in the administrative justice system. It first traces the origins of the ‘public sector ombudsmen’, including the Parliamentary Ombudsman, in the UK. It then considers the need for and the functions of the ombudsmen, along with the place of the ombudsmen in a changing administrative landscape. It also discusses bodies and matters subject to investigation by the Ombudsman based on the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967, including ‘maladministration’, and the Ombudsman's discretion to investigate. Finally, the chapter reviews the conduct and consequences of the Ombudsman's investigations, paying attention to judicial review of the ombudsmen's conclusions, and institutional matters pertaining to the ombudsman system.

Chapter

Cover English Legal System Concentrate

1. Introduction to the English Legal System  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. This introductory chapter provides an overview of the English legal system (ELS). The study of ELS involves the study of the legal system of both England and Wales; Scotland and Northern Ireland are subject to a separate, yet connected legal system. These four countries are subjected to the laws of the UK; however, each individual constituent has devolved powers allowing them to legislate in particular areas. Where a conflict between laws of the UK and laws of the constituent country arises, the UK law takes precedence. The effect of devolution from the UK to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland does not affect this parliamentary supremacy. Indeed, it has been argued for some time that devolution of power has not gone far enough in allowing Scotland or Northern Ireland to govern themselves.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional and Administrative Law

5. Parliament  

This chapter is concerned with the two chambers of Parliament, which, together with the Queen, collectively form Parliament: these are the House of Commons (HC) and the House of Lords (HL). The composition of both Houses is considered in this chapter, and attention is given to the officers of the House of Commons, the life of Parliament, House of Commons sittings, and the committee system. The electoral franchise is discussed and attention is focused on the important issues of electoral reform and the reform of the House of Lords. The chapter concludes by considering what is meant by the term ‘parliamentary privilege’.

Chapter

Cover Business Law

3. Creating, Finding, and Applying the Law  

This chapter discusses the administration of the legal system and introduces its essential elements. It begins by identifying the various sources of law in England and Wales and continues with an examination of the roles played by the judiciary in interpreting and applying legislation. It demonstrates the active and important role adopted by judges in giving the full effect of the law. It considers the law-making process, along with the workings of the parliamentary system and the use of delegated legislation. It also considers the sources of the law to identify where laws may derive, and delineates the ‘hierarchy’ of laws in England. The chapter concludes by identifying and critiquing the ability of Parliament to delegate the responsibility of passing legislation.

Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

2. Constitutional Foundations of the Powers of the Courts  

Sir William Wade and Christopher Forsyth

This chapter begins with a discussion of the concept of the rule of law, covering the meaning of legality and discretionary power, judicial independence, and fairness. It then explains the sovereignty of Parliament, the elements of judicial control, and the doctrine of ultra vires.

Chapter

Cover Wade & Forsyth's Administrative Law

2. Constitutional Foundations of the Powers of the Courts  

Sir William Wade, Christopher Forsyth, and Julian Ghosh

This chapter begins with a discussion of the concept of the rule of law, covering the meaning of legality and discretionary power, judicial independence and fairness. It then explains the sovereignty of Parliament, the elements of judicial control and the doctrine of ultra vires.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

9. The European Union and Brexit  

This chapter focuses on the constitutional implications of the UK’s membership of the European Union and the constitutional implications of its exit from the EU (or ‘Brexit’). The chapter examines how EU law was accommodated within the UK legal system during the period of the UK’s membership of the EU, and in particular considers the consequences of the primacy of EU law for the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. The chapter also considers the extent to which lessons learned about the UK constitution as a result of EU membership will remain relevant now that the UK has left the EU.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional and Administrative Law

16. Tribunals, inquiries, and the ombudsmen remedy  

This chapter begins by distinguishing between tribunals and inquiries. A tribunal is a permanent body that sits periodically, while an inquiry is something which is established on an ad hoc basis. Tribunals are empowered to make decisions that are binding on those parties subject to their jurisdiction; inquiries generally do not have formal decision-making powers. Tribunals are concerned with matters of fact and law, whereas inquiries are concerned with wider policy issues. The discussion then turns to the reform of the tribunal system; the former Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council; the origins of ombudsmen; the Parliamentary Commissioner; ombudsmen of devolved institutions; the Health Service Commissioner; the Local Government Commissioners; ombudsmen and the courts; and proposals for a unified Public Service Ombudsman service.